Degree (freemasonry)

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Freemason's insignia: apron, official badge "Altstuhlmeister" and bijou.

The entire teaching of Freemasonry is divided into three grades across the Grand Lodge ( blue St. John's Freemasonry ). Building on this, various so-called high-grade systems are “worked on” by a minority of Freemasons. Since the ritually used clothing components and the color design of the meeting places each have a different working color, they are also referred to as white, green, black and red grades . The common prerequisite for admission to all high-grade systems is the master's degree in St. John's Freemasonry.

Blue Midsummer Freemasonry

The three degrees of blue freemasonry are apprentice , journeyman and master . For these degrees the lodge work consists in subjecting oneself to a moral and spiritual self-discovery , the most important means of which is the so-called temple work . In their symbolic language, the Freemasons speak of the building of the Temple of Humanity.

The symbolic degrees , borrowed from the craft tradition, symbolize the inner stages of development that a Freemason goes through in the course of his masonry life. From degree to degree, there is an increasing initiation through various legends and symbolic acts, with which ethical values ​​can be experienced. At the first initiation, the admission to the apprenticeship degree, the initiate receives the task “Know yourself”, which corresponds to the lifelong task of recognizing and questioning one's own motives. The transition to the next level should represent a degree of personal perfection, there is no hierarchy . The symbol for the encounter on a plane between different grades is the historical setting scale .


Initiation of a seeker
, end of the  18th century

The apprenticeship level deals with self-awareness and examines the question of how the symbolic imperfect “rough stone” can be turned into a hewn stone. A Freemason in the first degree learns to become aware of his weaknesses and that he consequently needs the help of his fellow men. In return, he is ready to help those who need his help. If he is instructed, it is his task to always question this in order to understand the meaning behind it, instead of uncritically adopting possibly wrong or misunderstood instructions that could subsequently cause great damage.

In Christian masonry, this degree is also created with an inward-looking view. The focus is on the knowledge of one's own " childhood of God ", the awareness of the divine spark in every person. Elements of Christian mysticism , as represented by Meister Eckhart , come into play. The motto of the degree is "Look inside yourself". This transcendent knowledge is conveyed in the symbolism with technical terms. As an apprentice craftsperson, you have to get to know the materials and tools you will be working with later.

A ritual role play serves to convey the content. Symbols and allegories are presented in the context of a fictional cathedral building in a fixed and always the same exchange between the master of the chair and his officials . The brothers should let these symbols work on themselves, on their inner being. In this way, a character or mental development should be stimulated.


Journeyman Carriage
Engraving from around 1830/35

The journeyman's degree is used to train patience and reflect on one's own social behavior. The journeyman goes on a journey, that is, he visits other boxes in the area or wherever he is privately or professionally and gets to know new things and aspects and their transience, memories remain. Intensive preoccupation with the seven liberal arts of antiquity belongs to this degree in various Masonic systems . He supports his fellow human beings with his newly acquired skills and so the now hewn stone slowly fits into the common symbolic structure of humanity.

In addition to the traditional craftsmanship, the effect of action and reaction is important in Christian Freemasonry. The motto of the degree is "Look around you". All people, all of nature, are closely linked. No action stands for itself, so that the great responsibility that has been given to man in the Christian sense extends to all aspects of existence. Every action has a consequence, therefore every decision, every action should be of high quality and aimed at the good of all.


Master survey of a journeyman
engraving, late  18th century
Certificate of obtaining the master's degree from 1876

Finally, the master's degree emphasizes one's own impermanence and brings to mind the sometimes difficult but important task of passing on the experience gained to those who are to continue the work. The master gives structure to this work by helping his fellow human beings to find their own place in the common building according to their individual strengths. The setting of the ritual is moved away from the fictional cathedral building to the (also fictitious in this form) construction site of the Temple of Solomon . The temple of Solomon ideally stands for the “temple of mankind” and only actually has something to do with the biblical building in Christian Freemasonry.

In Christian masonry, the motto "Look over you" applies here. The awareness of one's own finiteness inevitably leads to the study of the After . Christian masonry does not convey its own theology here, but only focuses on the divine and leaves the design to the churches. The end of the worldly is shown very drastically in the symbolism. This symbolism of death was particularly exploited by Nazi propaganda, when temples were transformed into small horror cabinets with skeletons, skulls and coffins and exhibited. Many absurd rumors about Freemasonry are based on this distorted knowledge.

High grades

The grades 1 to 3: apprentice, journeyman and master are designated as blue (see above), the grades above as red high grades or Scottish grades or as cognition or perfection levels . Depending on the basic theme of these high degrees and depending on the high degree system, the assemblies are called perfection lodges, Andreas lodges, Schottenlogen, chapters, councils, councils, Areopage, Inner Oriente, consistories or preceptories. The list is not exhaustive, but only includes a few names from the most common high-grade systems.

In explanatory representations, the degrees of Freemasonry are often shown in a pyramid shape one above the other with the blue degrees as a broad base. This gives the impression of an elitist caste system with groups that are getting smaller and smaller and have at least a spiritual claim to leadership over those below. This impression is reinforced by the fact that in most lodges you have to be “selected” for access to a high-grade system, i.e. you cannot apply yourself as an interested party (in contrast to “blue” masonry). The criteria of such a “selection” are not transparent, just as the conveyed values ​​remain unrecognizable through the screen of secrecy. Formally, however, no authority of the “higher” grades can be derived from this alone. Almost everywhere in the world the blue grades are organizationally separated from the high grades and form independent boxes. Within the higher grades, every Freemason theoretically has the opportunity to move up to the next higher grade, only the so-called "administrative grades" are an exception, as they are reserved for the brothers elected to the board. The subject of secrecy plays a much stronger role in the high-grade systems. While blue freemasonry sees itself as a bond of friendship and a place of free speech, the practice of the high-level boxes is heavily shielded and formally very ritual-related.

Those who “work” on high grades usually go through several grades in sequence. For example, the Old and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) has four to six degrees, depending on the country, which can be “worked on” with a ritual experience, while the York Rite does not have a structured hierarchical arrangement. The exact division of the degrees depends on the respective rite . In public, high degrees are always the cause of conspiracy theories .

In Germany, in the order of their historical occurrence, the levels of knowledge of the Great National Mother Lodge “To the three globes” , the Swedish teaching system of the Great State Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany , the levels of knowledge of the Great Lodge of Prussia called Royal York are widespread on Friendship , the Old and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) and the York Rite .

Great National Mother Lodge “To the Three Worlds” - advanced levels of knowledge

The advanced levels of knowledge represent - like the "Swedish teaching system" - a Christian direction of Freemasonry which deviates from humanitarian Freemasonry and which emerged in Prussia from around 1742. They contain a closed system with a total of seven degrees.


The advanced levels of knowledge following the three degrees of Johannis (see above) are "processed" in two departments, the General Old Scottish Lodge and the Inner Orient . The Schottenlogen are directed by an old Scottish master . The General Old Scottish Lodge is subordinate to the Old Scottish Board of Directors, which is the same person as the Federal Board of Directors. The Inner Oriente, on the other hand, are directed by the Supreme Inner Orient , which in turn is the same person as the Federal Directorate.

"Edited" degrees

It is based on the three grades of apprentice (1 °), journeyman (2 °) and master (3 °) of the Johannisloge .

  • General Old Scottish Lodge of
    Old Scottish Masters (IV °)
  • Inner Orient
    Chosen Brother (V °) - Devotee of the Inner Temple (VI °) - Confidant of Perfection (VII °)


In the Schottenloge , the three supporting pillars of the Johannisloge are replaced by the pillar of religion, i.e. H. the love of God and man complements. The level of knowledge of the Chosen Brother as the entrance to the Inner Orient conveys that it is not external, worldly splendor that determines the value of the ethical. The consecrated person of the temple hears the history of the Knights Templar with the doctrine that striving for splendor, power, wealth and outward appearance leads to downfall, but haughty arrogance of knowledge and dwindling fear of the sacred are mystical - exemplified by the Masonic history of the Rosicrucians. to overcome.

The final stage of cognition of the confidante of perfection shows that there will indeed be true perfection only after death, but may be called “confidante of perfection” to whom the pursuit of perfection has become second nature. The confidante of perfection puts on the apprentice apron again because he has come to realize that he will always remain an apprentice, namely as the apprentice of the founder of the purest religion.

There are visiting agreements with the advanced levels of the Swedish teaching system of the Great National Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany , the AASR and the York Rite .

Swedish teaching system

The Swedish teaching system represents a Christian direction of Freemasonry that differs from the rest of the - humanitarian - Freemasonry, which had first developed in Sweden from around 1760. It contains a closed system with a total of ten degrees and emphasizes the tradition of a Christian knightly order, without being one itself or even descending from one, and is based on the pure teaching of Jesus Christ as it emerges from the Holy Scriptures .


The advanced degrees are “processed” in two departments, the Andreas boxes and the order chapters. The Andreas boxes are led by a spokesman for Andrew . The Andreas lodges belong to their respective provincial lodges, which in turn are attached to the large state lodge. - The chapters of the order, however, are led by a speaking chapter master . They are directly subordinate to the highest order chapter of Germany.

"Edited" degrees

  • Johannisloge
    apprentice (1 °) - journeyman (2 °) - master (3 °)
  • Andreasloge
    Andreas apprentice (IV °) and Andreas journeyman (V °), both grades are "processed" together, - Andreas master (VI °)
  • Chapter
    Knights from the East (VII °) - Knights from the West (VIII °) - Confidante of the St. John's Lodge (IX °) - Chosen of the St. Andrew's Lodge (X °)


The work in the St. John's Lodge corresponds to that of the general Blue St. John's Freemasonry (see above). - In the Andreas Lodge , the focus of the content- related work is on the construction of the second temple under Nehemiah , which was built on the found foundation stone of King Solomon's first temple. The Andreas master learns that under this perfect cube, Jesus Christ is actually to be understood as the actual keystone of the temple. The allegory of the foundation stone found under the rubble of the first destroyed temple, on which, according to God's advice, a new temple should be built, already suggests the content of the chapter of the order : The knight from the east should absorb the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ in himself and himself and prepare others for the expansion of the teaching and for solving the tasks possible through the understanding of the Spirit. The inclusion in this degree shows certain similarities with that of the Knights of the Templar Order. The candidate is asked about his belief in Christianity and his knightly origin . The legend of the order also refers to the destruction and construction of the new temple, the master, cornerstone and builder of which is the divine Supreme Master Jesus Christ. The content of the degree of the Knight of the West forms the historical information about the Knight Templar. The triumphant and risen Christ confronts the confidante of St. John's Lodge , who lets him see the highest light and glimpse into the future. The degree of the chosen one in the Andreas Lodge emphasizes the duty to bring to an end the striving for union with God as the center of eternal love, based on the previous degrees.

There are visiting agreements with the advanced degrees of the Great National Mother Lodge "To the Three Worlds" , the AASR and the York Rite .

Great Lodge of Prussia called Royal York for Friendship - advanced levels of knowledge

The Great Lodge of Prussia called Royal York for Friendship , which was not rebuilt after the Second World War , possessed two advanced levels of knowledge. Four daughter lodges of this federation joined the Grand Lodge of the Old Free and Accepted Masons of Germany after the Second World War , elect a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Royal York for friendship out of tradition and continue to “work” on the degrees of knowledge in addition to the degrees of St.


The structure was mainly designed by Ignaz Aurelius Feßler during his brief membership in the Great Lodge Royal York for Friendship. The two degrees following the three degrees of Johannis are awarded in an Inner Orient and the Inner Orient . Chosen Hiramite masters , i.e. masters of St. John's lodges , form an Inner Orient . The Inner East is made up of the Grand Master and other senior "officials"; it is essentially an administrative body.

"Edited" degrees

It is based on the three grades of apprentice (1 °), journeyman (2 °) and master (3 °) of the Johannisloge .

  • Inner Orient
    Elected Master (IV °)
  • Inner Orient
    Confidant Master (V °)


Inner Oriente have the task of disseminating knowledge about the origins and historical development of the grand lodge systems of all times among the brothers and of making the essence of the Freemasons' Union clear to other ethical and religious societies in their work. Everything should be kept away that is alien to the innermost essence of Freemasonry. - The Inner Orient forms the highest “scientific” department of obedience and has the duty to go beyond the tasks of the Inner Orient to promote knowledge about the nature of the system of the Great Lodge Royal York for friendship, to deal with questions of ritual and doctrine and related thereto Elaborate applications to the Great Lodge for the further development of customs. - Ignaz Aurelius Feßler's skepticism towards the "high grades" is clearly reflected in the sobriety of the teaching content of these levels of knowledge, which is striking compared to other systems.

Structure of Freemasonry depicted by Jack O'Toole (1916), on the right the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) and on the left the York Rite (YR)

Scottish Rite (AASR)

Albert Pike (1809-1891) as "Sovereign Grand Commander"

The high degree system of the Old Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) includes the following degrees (the names mostly follow the tradition of the southern jurisdiction of the United States worldwide, from which the names of the northern jurisdiction of the United States sometimes deviate)
(St. John's degrees
: 1 ° apprentice - 2 ° Journeyman - 3rd master) :

High grade:

  • Degrees of perfection:
    4 °  Secret Master - 5 °  Perfect Master - 6 °  Secret Secretary - 7 °  Heads and Judges - 8 °  Intendant of Buildings - 9 °  Chosen Master of the Nine - 10 °  Chosen One of the Fifteen - 11 °  Exalted Chosen Knight - 12th °  Great Architect - 13 °  Master of the Royal Vault - 14 °  Chosen Bricklayer
  • Chapter
    : 15 °  Knight from the East or Knight of the Sword - 16 °  Master of Jerusalem - 17 °  Knight from the East and West - 18 °  Knight of the Rosicrucian
  • Philosophical or Areopagus degrees:
    19 °  High Priest or Exalted Scot - 20 °
     Master of the Symbolic Lodges - 21 ° Noachite or Prussian Knight - 22 °  Knight of the Royal Ax - 23 °  Master of the Most Holy - 24 °  Chief Master of the Most Holy - 25 °  Knight the Brazen Snake - 26 °  Scottish Trinitarian - 27 °  Head Master of the Temple - 28 °  Sun  Knight - 29 °  Grand Scotsman of St. Andrew - 30 ° Knight Kadosch
  • Consistorial
    : 31 °  Grand Judge - 32 °  Master of the Royal Secret
  • Degree of the Supreme Council:
    33 °  General Inspector

In Germany (as in most other jurisdictions) the grades 4 ° ( secret master ), 14 ° ( chosen mason ), 18 ° ( knight of the rose cross ), 30 ° ( knight Kadosch ), 32 ° ( Master of the Royal Secret ) and 33 ° ( General Inspector ), the other degrees are only awarded by “notification” (e.g. the 15th to 17th degree on the occasion of the granting of the 18th degree). In the United States, in particular, efforts are being made to actually "work on" the intermediate degrees, whereby those brothers who have already received the degree by "notification" are invited to actually "work on" the degree (which in American studios downright can have the character of a “performance” - one also speaks of attending “to stage a degree” ). The Board of Governors, made up of only a few 33rd Brothers, is used for administrative purposes. In many countries there has been a so-called Concordat with the Grand Lodge of England since 1929. However, there are countries in which the AASR also “processes” the blue grades 1 to 3. This is the case for example across South America.

The AASR is said to be the most widely used high-grade system of Freemasonry in the world. Anyone who decides to work in the Scottish Rite must plan a lot of time for study and ritual work. There are visiting agreements in Germany with the advanced degrees of the Great National Mother Lodge “To the Three Worlds” and the Swedish teaching system of the Great State Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany .


The contents of the individual degrees of the AASR draw attention to certain aspects of the Masonic thought, such as humility, fulfillment of duty and charity. These values ​​are conveyed through the rich symbolic language of the system, which is of different origins, as the names of the degrees indicate. Chivalry in particular plays a central role.

As in the blue grades, emphasis is placed on number symbols . About the seven cardinal virtues or the seven stages of life. The aim is to convey that philosophical truths can only be approached in stages and that in order to be able to recognize them, all unnecessary burdens must be discarded.

The AASR conveys ethical values ​​in that the Freemason learns to combine his knowledge from the “profane” world with the spiritual content of the order in order to improve the coexistence of people and to shape the future accordingly.


There are so-called Supreme Councils for individual countries , which unite the studios . The latter are divided into five departments:

  • Perfection boxes (4th to 14th degree)
  • Chapter (15th to 18th degree)
  • Areopagus (19th to 30th degree)
  • Consistories (31st and 32nd degrees, in some states there is also a separate department for the 31st degree, called the "Tribunal")
  • Supreme Council (33rd degree)


The AASR was founded in Charleston , West Virginia ( USA ) in 1801 . The legend that it was brought into being by Frederick the Great cannot be historically proven. In 1804 the first European Supreme Council was installed by Count de Grasse-Tilly (Supreme Council of France). In Germany, or the Weimar Republic at that time , the AASR was founded in 1930 by the “Labor” atelier of the Austrian Supreme Council.

York Rite (YR)

Thomas Smith Webb (1771–1819) "Founding Father" of the York Rite

York Rite and American Rite , also Royal Arch, Order of the Royal Arch or Masonic Knights Templar Order are very different terms that often refer to the same system of advanced Masonic degrees. It has its origin in America and is most widespread in both parts of the American continent, but there are also numerous members and organizations of this system in many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The "founding father" is Thomas Smith Webb (1771–1819) with his work The Freemason's Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry from 1797. In the York Rite, a group of partly very old Masonic rituals that originally existed independently of one another was systematically summarized. which are still "worked on" independently, especially in the context of British Freemasonry (see below). Although the term “high degrees” is often used for these rituals (as in the Scottish rite ), they are understood as further stages of knowledge within the rite itself.

The name York Rite refers to the English city of York , in which, according to Masonic legend, the first Masonic lodge is said to have been established by King Æthelstan in 928 .


The individual degrees of the York rite work in the three sections of the chapter (with four degrees of chapters), the council (with two or three cryptic degrees) and in the commandery (with three degrees of knighthood). In addition to the commanderies, which operate under the American constitution (but some also work in German), there are the German-speaking preceptorships and priories , which “process” two degrees (albeit in a different order) under the Scottish charter. The three different departments of the chapter, the council and the preceptory with priory or the commandery are formally independent of one another, although they build on one another.

In Germany, the chapters and councils are summarized in the Supreme Major Chapter of the Masons of the Royal Arch of Germany and in the Grand Council of the Cryptic Masons of Germany , the Preceptories and Priories in the Grand Priory of Germany of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta . The Commanderies are directly subordinate to the Grand Encampment of Knight Templars (German: Groß-Feldlager der Tempelritter ) in the United States. In Austria there is a major chapter of Austria of the bricklayers from the royal arch .

The Grand Chapter and Grand Councils of the various countries are internationally united in the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International or the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International .

In France, the actual masonry degrees of the York Rite are granted within the regular Grand Lodge GLNF , the Markmeister degree, however, in the Grande Loge des Maîtres Maçons de Marque de France and the Christian-oriented degrees of knighthood in the preceptorships and priories of the Grand Prieuré des Gaules .

"Edited" degrees

The degrees of apprentice (I °), journeyman (II °) and master (III °), the ritual content of which is an integral part of the York rite, are exclusively "processed" outside of the York rite in the German-speaking countries (as in the USA) . The existing active membership in a master's degree in a regularly recognized St. John's Lodge is therefore a prerequisite for admission to a chapter and the other bodies. In some countries (such as Mexico), blue lodges also exist within the York Rite.

The following degrees are ritually "worked on" and awarded in the York Rite, whereby the ascending degree counting is widely used within the corporations, but not officially established:

  • Chapter of the Bricklayer of the Royal Arch :
    Markmaster (IV °) - Old Master (V °) - Very Excellent Master (VI °) - Bricklayer of the Royal Arch (VII °)
    The ritual color of the chapter is red.
    Anyone who heads or has presided over a chapter as high priest (or chapter master) can be invited to membership in the Order of the High Priesthood .
  • Council of Cryptic Masons :
    Royal Master (VIII °) - Chosen Master (IX °); as an optional additional degree (IXa): Most excellent master
    The ritual color of the council is purple.
    Anyone who presides over or has presided over a council as an illustrious master can be invited to membership in the Order of the Side Ranks of the Silver Trowel .
Badge of the knights of a commandery of the York Rite: a Templar cross on crossed swords, on it a crowned Passion Cross with the motto IN HOC SIGNO VINCES (In this symbol you will win).
  • Commandery :
    Companion and Knight of the Sublime Order of the Red Cross (X °) - Knights of Malta (XI °) - Knights of the Temple (XII °)


  • Preceptory and priory :
    Knights of the Temple (X °) - Knights of Malta (XI °)
    The ritual color of the knight degrees is white (or, conversely, black on a white background), the color of the Order of the Red Cross in the Commandery is green.
    Who of working under American Constitution Commandery as Commendatore (or Commander projects) or has been standing, can be used to membership in the Order of Knights Preceptor be invited.

Within the York Rite there is no need or even a compulsion to go through all stages of knowledge and also to join a commandery, a preceptory or a priory. Anyone who decides to stick to membership in a chapter or council is at liberty, but membership in a chapter is always the prerequisite for admission to a council, a commandery or a preceptory.


The basis of the Masonic rituals “worked on” in the York rite are the three symbolic degrees of apprentice (1 °), journeyman (2 °) and master (3 °); their teaching content is a prerequisite and an integral part of the work within the system. The rituals “worked on” in the chapters and councils are additions to the content of the symbolic masonry of these degrees; they thus represent an extension of Freemasonry within (and not above ) the blue lodges :

In the Markmeister degree, the teachings of the journeyman degree in relation to fraternal solidarity are deepened; the degrees of the old master and the very excellent master expand the insights and experiences of the master degree. The degree of bricklayer from the Royal Arch finally conveys, based on the allegorically reproduced circumstances of the second temple building in Jerusalem under Zerubbabel, the insight that a new temple can also be built on ruins and that the “true” master's word has not been lost.

The cryptic degrees of the royal and the chosen master teach, with reference to the legend of the master's degree, the duty to foresight and faithful action in order to preserve the essential teachings of Freemasonry for the future.

The commanderies or preceptorships and priories maintain the traditions of masonic-knightly rituals and convey the principles of chivalry as a supplement to the cardinal virtues taught in blue masonry ; they presuppose a commitment to Trinitarian Christianity . The ritual of the Sublime Order of the Red Cross in the Commandery communicates through references to events during the second temple construction in Jerusalem and Babylon (ie to "pre-Christian" times) that the belief in Christianity should not exclude tolerance towards other beliefs.

History in the German-speaking area

The content of the rituals cultivated in the York rite in Germany can in part refer to a tradition of well over two centuries. In 1786, a chapter on Zion the Masons was established by the Royal Arch in Hanover, followed by a chapter of Eintracht in Frankfurt am Main in 1789 . The Masonic knight degrees have their predecessors in the system of strict observance of the 18th century.

The first German chapter of the bricklayers from the Royal Arch of recent times as part of the York Rite was founded in 1953 in Frankfurt am Main with the name Lebendiger Bogen Nr. 1 . In 1956 the establishment of the large chapter took place; its first grand high priest (chairman) was the "Unifier of German Freemasonry" and later Grand Master of the United Grand Lodges of Germany , Theodor Vogel . The Grand Council of Cryptic Masons was set up in 1957. Also in 1957 the first Preceptory was founded under the Great Priory of Scotland , and in 1982 the Great Priory of Germany was established under the Scottish Charter . The first German Commandery Hermann von Salza No. 1 was opened in Frankfurt am Main in 1961.

A major chapter of Austria was established in 1974 as the sovereign and supreme authority of the bricklayers of the Royal Arch in Austria and received the recognition of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International . As a result, a concordat was concluded with the Grand Lodge of Austria with the aim of mutual recognition. Further degrees of cryptic masonry are "processed" in the Council of Danubius .

In Switzerland, comparable systems work according to the British model (see below).

Comparable systems

Structure of the Masonic Orders beyond the first three degrees of lodge in England and Wales
Establishment of a chapter for the masons of the Royal Arch of the English Teaching Style

British Freemasonry, as it is widespread in large parts of the former Empire , has degrees in different organizational structures comparable to the York Rite. For example, there is a separate Grand Lodge for the Markmeister degree in England, which also grants the Royal Ark Mariner degree, which is not “processed” in the York Rite , the degree of Mason of the Royal Arch is in a Supreme Grand Chapter within the United Grand Lodge of England as a supplement to the master's degree “worked on”, and for the cryptic degrees (including the very excellent master ) there is a separate Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters in England . In Scotland, all chapter and cryptic masonry work is carried out under a Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter . The Christian degrees of knighthood are summarized in both countries in Great Priories of the United Religious, Military, and Masonic Orders of the Temple, and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes, and Malta . In Ireland there is the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland , which also "processes" the Markmeister degree, and the Order of the Temple - Great Priory of Ireland , but not an organization of cryptic masonry. The Commandery degree of the Sublime Order of the Red Cross, which is not conveyed in the priories and preceptorships, is part of the Allied Masonic Degrees in England as the Order of the Red Cross of Babylon , in Ireland it corresponds to the body of the Council of Knight Masons, and in Scotland it is ( as well as the degree of Royal Ark Mariner ) in a separate body within the Royal Arch Chapter .

In Israel there is a Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter , which also "processes" the cryptic degrees, the Christian knight degrees are not represented there. It is part of the York Rite.

The corresponding degrees are awarded in Switzerland in similar structures . There is on the one hand a National Grand Lodge of the Mark Meister Maurer and on the other hand the National Grand Chapter Helvetia of the Royal Arch Maurer . In addition, the Rectified Scottish Rite (RSR) also works in Switzerland , the Grand Priory of which was founded in 1779. In the meantime, 10 major priorities of the RSR based in Switzerland have established themselves in various countries. The order is Christian-knightly oriented and grants the degrees Scottish Andrew Master, Shield Bearer Novice and Charitable Knight of the Holy City following the St. John's Lodge (see above) .

In Germany, in addition to the Supreme Major Chapter of Masons from the Royal Arch of Germany of the York Rite, there has been the Grand Chapter of British Royal Arch Masons in Germany since 1976 and a District Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons in Germany since 1980 , which has the degrees of mason from Royal bow and marrow master according to British ritual "work". Friendship and visiting agreements exist with the major chapter of the York Rite.

Visiting agreements also exist between the bodies of the York Rite and the Grand State Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany with regard to their Andreas lodges and chapters, as well as with the Great National Mother Lodge “To the Three Worlds” with regard to their advanced levels of knowledge (see above).

Corporations in the area

Sign of the Masonic Knights of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine

A number of independent bodies with their own lines of tradition or advanced rituals have established themselves around the world around the York Rite. In this context , the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine , based on the historical model of the Order of Constantine, with the attached Order of the Holy Sepulcher and the Order of Saint John the Evangelist , which are administered in Germany by the Imperial Grand Conclave of Germany , should be mentioned in particular . Membership cannot be applied for, it can only be acquired through a personal invitation. The prerequisite for an invitation is the achievement of the degree of a Freemason Master and a Mason of the Royal Arch in one chapter (or a Royal Arch Mason in one Chapter ) as well as the commitment to Trinitarian Christianity. The degrees Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine , Knight of the Holy Sepulcher and Knight of St. John the Evangelist are awarded . The work takes place in conclaves (Knights of the Red Cross Constantine), in the Asylum (Knights of the Holy Grave) and in commanderies (Knights of St. John the Evangelist). The Imperial Grand Conclave of Germany currently comprises four conclaves in Frankfurt, Berlin, Bielefeld and Hamburg. There are other imperial grand conclaves in England, Scotland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, France, Italy, Croatia and Israel.

The York Rite and the other bodies assigned to and associated with it offer a broad and rich Masonic-inspired program of rituals, which in its scope even exceeds that of the Scottish Rite with 33 degrees; In contrast to this, however, there is no strict classification into a system of hierarchically arranged degrees, and all rituals are actually "processed".

The degree of bricklayer from the Royal Arch , as it is "worked on" in the chapters of the York Rite and in the numerous chapters (or chapters ) of the comparable systems, especially of British provenance, is probably the most widespread and most widespread in the world most commonly practiced advanced degree of Freemasonry.

See also


  • Alec Mellor: Lodges, rituals, high degrees . Styria, Graz 1967.
  • Karl RH Frick: The enlightened. Gnostic-Theosophical and alchemical-Rosicrucian secret societies up to the end of the 18th century - a contribution to the intellectual history of modern times. Graz 1973
  • Marcus Meyer, Heinz-Gerd Hofschen: Light into the Dark: The Freemasons and Bremen . Edition Temmen, Bremen 2006.
  • Gabor Kiszely: Freemason high grade. The Ancient and Adopted Scottish Rite. Studienverlag, Innsbruck / Vienna / Bozen 2009.
  • Gabor Kiszely: Freemason high grade. Types of teaching and pseudorites. Studienverlag, Innsbruck / Vienna / Bozen 2009.
  • Eugen Lennhoff / Oskar Posner / Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemason Lexicon . 6. revised and exp. Edition. Herbig, Munich 2006.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. FREEMASONS / INTERNATIONAL: The hand to the covenant . In: Der Spiegel . No. 25 , 1950 ( online ).
  2. Biography of Thomas Smith Webb (English)
  3. Grand Encampment of Knight Templars (USA)
  4. ^ General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International
  5. ^ General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International
  6. Grande Loge Nationale Française
  7. Grande Loge des Maîtres Maçons de Marque de France
  8. ^ Grand Prieuré des Gaules
  9. English Masonic Wiki
  10. ^ The York Grand Lodge of Mexico
  11. ^ Supreme major chapter of the bricklayers from the Royal Arch , anniversary gift, Frankfurt a. M. 2007, p. 16.
  12. Great Priory of Scotland
  13. ^ Grand Lodge of Austria
  14. Irish Freemasonry
  15. Supreme Major Chapter of Israel ( Memento of the original from May 31, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. On the history of the RSR
  17. High degrees in Switzerland